For a breathtaking selection of Mexican folk art that you can purchase and take home with you, Galería Tataya is a must. This special gallery originally opened four years ago in the front part of the owners’ colonial Santiago home, but about a year ago they moved the gallery to Calle 60 right across the street from the church in Santa Ana. In the new 2-story location, they have been able to create unique displays and lighting for the art, including display islands which are each dedicated to a special theme, inviting customers to walk around and see the art from every angle. There is a quirky red theme, used as an accent color on railings, some walls, and even on a water pipe. And there are several other galleries within a couple of blocks on Calle 60, which makes it easy to see a variety of art, with no two galleries alike. In fact, it can be said that every single art gallery and folk art store in Mérida offers a totally unique collection with completely different types and origins of art.
Owners Gerardo and François travel extensively in Mexico and purchase all the art personally and directly from artists, using no middle-men or folk art trusts. They search for only the very best workshops, often small but with top-quality production. They are proud to sell objects made by some of the artists featured in the well-known publication “Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular Mexicano”, and for those familiar with the book, you will be pleased to see the object on the book cover (the elaborate green pot with lid, by Maestro Hilario Alejos) at Galería Tataya. Also from the book are works by Carlomagno Pedro Martínez (renowned sculptor; ask about his black clay piece “El Coyote Tona” representing a dog who guides the dead through the underworld); and Irma Blanco, with her detailed clay virgins. If you are a Catrina fan, you will enjoy Maestra Lourdes Moreno’s depictions of Elvis, Bob Marley, and Michael Jackson; and young artist Jesus Canseco Zárate’s papier maché Catrinas are irresistible. The gallery also has a phenomenal collection of alebrijes, the brightly-colored, detailed wood carvings of fantastic creatures, but also look for the dogs and iguanas in unpainted wood, simply wonderful. Custom-made metal trees of life seven feet tall adorn the walls above your head as you gaze up to the second floor.
As if this visual feast was not enough, the gallery also hosts an amazing collection of Cuban paintings, made by Cuban artists living in Cuba; and again, the gallery owners have direct contact with the artists.
Galería Tataya has purchased all of the art in the store, rather than taking it on consignment, which allows them to create an original atmosphere in the gallery. They offer pieces of every size and price range, and if your purchase is too large to carry home with you, they will ship it for you at a reasonable cost.